ASU’s Powertrain Plan to Success

The Arizona State University (ASU) EcoCAR 3 team is excited for Year Two of the competition as they set their sights on implementing their powertrain design in the iconic American car, their 2016 Chevrolet Camaro.

ASU will be developing a Parallel Pre-Trans (P2) plug-in hybrid powered by E85.


Deciding on a Powertrain Plan was not an easy feat. The team looked at over 40 designs before narrowing down their decision to one final engine plan. It was a process that took a great amount of time and consideration. As the ASU EcoCAR 3 team began the initial workings and planning of what type of powertrain plan to develop in the competition, there were several important factors to take into account:

  1. As ASU is a brand new team to Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC’s), it was important to design a powertrain with feasibility in mind. Many of the parts and components that the team will be utilizing in their vehicle are from competition sponsors such as GM and GKN. Using parts from competition sponsors will ensure reliability and support for implementing those parts within the vehicle.
  2. A Parallel Hybrid was chosen over a Series, as the engine and motor both provide power to the wheels in a Parallel Hybrid. Parallels have more power than series hybrids and this was an important factor to consider as the team is keen on ensuring the integrity of the Camaro is not compromised in terms of top speed, power, and efficiency.
  3. Plug-in Hybrids show a higher increase in energy efficiency. Energy consumption is much lower in Plug-in Hybrids as well. P2’s have the benefit of using an automated clutch system in order to shut down the engine, when possible, and rely on the electric motor instead.
  4. The ASU team’s consumer market was interested in a car with great mileage and the team wanted to be able to provide the market with a long all electric range by utilizing a large capacity battery pack. Because the electric motor is in front of the transmission, the team is able to use a compact electric motor to power the vehicle and more effectively employ the battery pack. Imagine being able to commute to work on all electric power in a stylish new Camaro!

Each team is sure to face a number of challenges as they begin working on their vehicles, but the ASU team is ready to take those challenges head on!